Formula E video: is this the future of motorsport?

With electric power and street-only circuits, could Formula E be the blueprint for motorsport in years to come?

Formula E is a unique contest between futuristic cars - one that could completely redefine how we view motorsport and the car itself.

Rather than the silence you might have expected, Formula E cars produce a relatively high electric whine. It's less of an assault on the eardrums than its F1 counterpart as it's about 50 decibels quieter. That's because instead of a 1.6-litre V6 turbo engine and two energy recovery systems, this car uses an electric battery known as the Rechargeable Energy Storage System, or 'RESS', to power the wheels via an electric motor.

According to official figures, the maximum output of the electric power train when it comes to race-day will be 200 kilowatts - the equivalent of 270bhp. Flat out, a Formula E car is expected to see off 0-62mph in approximately three seconds, before reaching an FIA-limited top speed of 140mph.

While it's not quite F1 pace, it's easily enough power to make things interesting when the first of the 10 city circuit races gets underway later this year in Beijing.

Formula E will undoubtedly be a challenge. Not only will practice, qualifying and the race all take place on the same day, drivers are also going to swap cars mid-race - a result of the limited battery life currently available.

There'll also be a limit on power during the one hour races. Again, that's partly to save energy, but also to encourage overtaking, with drivers able to use a 'Push to Pass' system to briefly access their car's full power, which serves a similar purpose to Formula 1's KERS system.

Purists may argue that Formula E isn't racing, and there will be complaints about the perceived lack of performance. However, Formula E isn't trying to rival F1. From mandatory pit stops so drivers can change cars, to a short calendar of street only races, this is an entirely different prospect.

Most Popular

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'
Opinion Nissan EV

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'

Steve Fowler thinks Nissan is in a great position to build on the Leaf's success
8 Apr 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTD vs BMW 120d
VW Golf GTD vs BMW 120d - main
Volkswagen Golf GTD Hatchback

Volkswagen Golf GTD vs BMW 120d

Can the Volkswagen Golf GTD or BMW 120d prove diesel isn't dead?
10 Apr 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6: UK prices and specifications confirmed
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6: UK prices and specifications confirmed

The new all-electric Kia EV6 gets two batteries, 4WD and even a rapid sporty GT version. Prices start from £40,895
30 Mar 2021